I found this blog post in my drafts folder. I wrote it years ago after seeing post by another wedding photographer about why she doesn’t blog every wedding and what makes a wedding blog-worthy. The list included things like light and location.
I can understand not having time to blog everything if you shoot a lot, or simply wanting to show only your best work or only a certain style. A photographer’s blog is, after all, a marketing piece for future clients.
There’s recently been some discussion among photographers, myself included, about how wedding photography awards and popular images on social media have a tendency to lean towards gorgeous locations (think mountain tops and destination weddings) and couples who look like models (most often white and straight, but that’s changing slowly).
For many photographers, things like light, location, and the subjects’ appearances have a lot to do with the quality of their work. Beautiful places, great natural light, and conventionally beautiful people are easy to take good photos of, and a great photographer can turn these things into something truly stunning. Of course, a truly great photographer can make a great photo of almost anything. I personally find all couples getting married to be beautiful because they’re just so happy and bursting with emotion.
I blog every wedding I photograph (unless the client asks me not to). I no longer blog them for the client, since most clients get a slideshow to share with family and friends, so the blog post may take a while to be posted. But I do eventually blog everything, because I think every wedding is blog-worthy.Here’s a few reasons why.
Weddings are about love
I suppose some weddings aren’t about love, but the ones I photograph definitely are. My clients are psyched to be marrying their best friend. They’re excited to start a future together. They know how lucky they are. Photos that show that love make me smile and I hope they make you all smile too.
Weddings are about family
And not just biological family. Weddings bring together people who love each other, who’ve grown together, who can’t imagine life without each other. And it’s not just about the bride and groom’s relationship with their guests, but also the guests’ relationships with one another (see more in my post “Wedding Photography is a Gift to Your Guests”).
Weddings are about mothers…
and friends. Whether they’re in your wedding party or not, friends are your chosen family and they make weddings so much more fun and meaningful.
Let’s not forget our furry family members. I love it when people make pets part of their wedding day (and so do the guests).
Kids are always fun at weddings and it’s always fun to watch people’s relationships with them, from the couple’s own kids to their grandkids and nieces and nephews to guests’ kids.
Weddings are fun and funny
People are fun and funny. No matter how annoyed I get in traffic or at noisy neighbors, weddings always make me fall in love with humanity again. From sweet and silly speeches to breaking out the moves on the dance floor, weddings are an amazing place to observe people’s personalities.
So I finally pulled together my favourite photos I took in 2018 and portfolio updates are in progress. Considering I shared my favourites from 2017 at the end of March last year, I’d say I’m ahead of the game.
2018 ended up being the busiest at the end of summer and into fall, as with most years. I had a wedding every weekend for ten weeks in a row starting on August 11th, but I did manage to beat my previous years’ delivery times, which made me and my clients happy. I also photographed theatre for the first time last year, along with my usual documentary family and couple portrait sessions.
These are my favourite photos of the year, not necessarily the “best” photos. A common theme is big smiles, laughter, and lots of emotion. For more backstory on some of these, check out my instagram where I write about individual images, or scroll back on the blog for full weddings and sessions.
I was asked to photograph the Greater Victoria Shakespeare Festival last year, which was the first time I’ve really photographed theatre. I acted (badly) in a couple of plays in university and have done some volunteering in the past with Langham Court Theatre here in town, so it was nice to be around theatre people again. Actors are a lot of fun to photograph and the performances were really excellent.
I photographed some promo shots, while the artistic director Karen Lee Pickett directed the actors, and loved how expressive the actors could be. I photographed one rehearsal for each of the two plays and then photographed one performance of each. I also took a friend to watch Pericles, so I got to watch it three times. There’s so much theatre talent in this town.
Some of the promo shots are below. The first three are for The Tempest, with a gender-swapped Prospero. The last two are for Pericles, which I’d never heard of before, but was really entertaining and heart-warming.
The photos taken at rehearsal were used to promote the plays closer to the date. I was able to get really close for these, so they reflect the actors’ expressions well. I didn’t bother cropping these at all, so the festival could decide how to crop them for website and social media use. Below is The Tempest’s rehearsal.
And Pericles’ rehearsal.
For the performances, they wanted me to focus on showing the crowd and atmosphere of the outdoor stage. I wasn’t able to get as close anyway, so this worked out well. Below is The Tempest.
If you get a chance to see one of the shows this summer, you should go. It’s a fun experience and the cast and crew do an awesome job.
Caitlin and Andrew were married at Merridale Cidery in September. It rained a lot, but there were plenty of umbrellas to go around. The couple and their guests weren’t going to let a little rain get in the way of a very fun day.
Andrew is from Scotland, so he and his brothers wore kilts and the couple incorporated a Quaich ceremony, which is a Scottish tradition where a cup of whiskey is shared between the couple to symbolize the joining of the families. They had a guest play guitar during the registry signing, which was a sweet touch. The ceremony itself was full of crying and giggling by both Caitlin and Andrew.
The rain continued into the portrait time, so we took some family portraits under cover. The couple wanted to wait a bit before taking portraits to see if it cleared up, so they spent some of cocktail hour with their guests, chatting and playing lawn games, and we still got plenty of great portraits. I always want my clients to spend as much time enjoying their guests’ company as they can, especially when many of them came from far away for the wedding, so this worked out perfectly in my book.
They had a quiz before dinner with Scottish and Canadian words and definitions, which lead to lots of great guest photos as they got really into playing. Later in the night, the couple lead the guests in a round of Scottish dancing. It’s definitely worth it to plan out some fun activities for your wedding guests, which can make the cocktail hour and reception fun even for guests who don’t know many people. It also makes for some unique photos with great expressions.
Dave and Ian were married at Delta Ocean Pointe Resort in early October. They had a stylish and fun wedding party (and parents) and even brought their adorable dog.
This was a pretty relaxed day overall starting with a late afternoon ceremony on the inner harbour. Because we did most of the portraits before the ceremony, they were able to spend a lot of their cocktail hour socializing with their guests. The reception consisted of some funny toasts (apparently Dave was obsessed with the Weather Channel as a child), yummy food, the shoe game, and a slideshow that the guests thought was hilarious.
I don’t have too much more to say about this wedding that you can’t see in the photos. Dave and Ian are so adorable together and so full of smiles, along with the rest of their family and friends. I just love how much joy there is in these images and I hope you enjoy them too.
This is an illustrated list of bed & breakfast and inn wedding venues in Victoria, BC. I’ve included links to the venues and their wedding information pages, along with links to blog posts from weddings I’ve photographed there.
These venues are best for smaller weddings and tend to be fancier than hotel ballrooms. Some can be rented out entirely so all your guests can stay there.
Marina and Travis live in Florida, but took a chance on an October wedding in Canada anyway. Her family is from Alberta, but I’m pretty sure most of his Southern US guests were a bit chilly by the reception. Luckily, the sun really came out that day, actually making for a bit of a challenge with the tented ceremony. But oh, the near-sunset light for the portraits was worth it.
The couple did a no-look first look at the door of the yurt before the ceremony. They held hands and giggled and were adorable while their wedding party and parents looked on. Marina handed Travis a note she wrote and as he was reading it, she slipped back into the yurt to talk to someone. He started talking to her around the door and turned to me, “She’s not there anymore, is she?”
I always love the little personal touches and departures from tradition in modern weddings and this wedding had its share. They had old photos of their grandparents displayed on their guestbook table and a fruitcake made by her mother and her best friends. Travis had his family’s tartan kilt, while the groomsmen had less flashy grey kilts. They seemed to enjoy showing off their knees (and Marina’s brother’s garter – not sure how that happened). Instead of throwing the bouquet, Marina gave it to her grandmother, who was super excited about it. Travis’s dad taught a bunch of the guests the Florida gator chomp, which was enthusiastically received by the southern guests. And I really enjoyed photographing all of the amazing dance moves by a lively crowd.
I have to give a huge thank you to Veronique Gagnon for stepping in last minute and driving up from Victoria as an emergency came up for my second shooter.
Kirsten and Berne are all about the love, not just for each other but for their family and friends. These two are very in touch with their emotions and aren’t afraid to share themselves with the ones they love. So, of course, their loved ones were happy to share their skills and effort in making their Pearson College wedding the best day possible.
Kirsten’s mom made her dress, which looked gorgeous and classic on her. Their friend, who’s a florist in Hawaii, designed all their florals. An uncle made the wood altar and Kirsten’s mother and aunt made a Danish wedding cake, which is basically a bunch of rings of marzipan. Their friends officiated the ceremony, which was even sweeter because they’re married to each other. And a guest played DJ and rocked the dance floor.
The ceremony kicked off with Kirsten being rowed around in a canoe by three young guests. The rest of the guests and Berne gathered around the fence to watch, then Kirsten and her father walked across campus to the ceremony site. There were a lot of emotions flowing as their officiants and guests spoke about the nature of love and marriage.
After a brief portrait session, they entered the reception and led their guests in some circle dances (check out the video below). The toasts showed how well their families and wedding party know them and how happy everyone was to see them find each other. Kirsten’s sister surprised her by asking Kirsten to sing with her as their brother played guitar. Kirsten was a great sport and studied the music before giving a beautiful performance of “Annie’s Song”.
The night continued with impressive first and father-daughter dances and one of the liveliest dance floors of the summer. They took a break for dessert and to “cut” the Danish wedding cake, which basically consists of them breaking the top several rings off the cake. They both went around and handed out pieces for all of the guests to try.
I created a fusion slideshow for them including some audio, but they wanted to keep that part private, so I made a mini video for you all to check out the boat trip and some of the fun circle dancing. If you want to get your guests involved in your wedding and kick the dance floor off, this is a great way to do it.
I was really looking forward to Renée and Matt’s Maple Grove Guest House wedding in September and it did not disappoint. I met them when Renée was a bridesmaid in her maid-of-honour Kelsey’s wedding a couple years ago. They were so adorable and girl just loves to dance, which are two of my favourite things in wedding clients.
I got to hang out with Renée and her bridesbabes before the ceremony, which was a ton of fun. They were so full of energy and joy (and champagne), making for lots of dancing and laughter. Their mismatched outfits looked awesome too. Renée’s mom helped her put her dress on and they were just so sweet together. Then, of course, the bridesbabes freaked out when they saw her in her dress. Can you blame them?
The couple did a first look, where they met up on a forest path before the ceremony. Renee walked up and they stood back to back, holding hands, for a bit to chat and giggle, before turning around. Matt’s reaction was pretty amazing. They both looked so happy. We finished up with some couple and wedding party portraits, so they’d only have to do some family photos between ceremony and reception.
The ceremony was sweet and emotional, and so pretty under that big tree. After the ceremony, Renée and Matt snuck away for a private moment with just the two of them. I stayed far enough back that I couldn’t hear what they were saying, but it looked pretty cute. Then they headed off down the hill together to the reception.
The reception included lots of toys for the kids, some hilarious and touching toasts, yummy food and drinks, and the bestowing of a cowbell by Matt’s parents (that I can’t quite remember the story behind). Their first dance was lively, lovely, and full of big smiles. It was followed by a ton of energetic dancing, which was so much fun to photograph. A little boy in suspenders just put everyone else’s moves to shame. Before we headed out, a guest reappeared in a sloth onesie and you can only imagine how the rest of the night went.
They had a lot of friends help them out and not just friends, but friends who are professionals, like Amanda at Brown’s for the flowers and Evan Miller from The Wild Romantics taking care of DJ duties and singing for their first dance. Renee’s cousin Megan made them a cutting cake that was adorable and topped with a drawing Matt did of the two of them. Their ceremony was unofficially officiated by Tara, a relationship coach they’re close to.
David and Tamar were married last year in Hawaii in a small ceremony and wanted to celebrate with all of their family and friends a year later with an anniversary party/reception at Starling Lane Vineyard. They adopted the cutest puppy, named Kona after their wedding location, who was just the star of the show. They got her a pretty floral crown, which she didn’t appreciate at all, but she sure loved the attention.
The afternoon was spent enjoying lawn games, appetizers (and “epic charcuterie board” per the couple), beverages, and conversation. Candid photos of the guests having fun were the most important to them, but we did sneak in a few portraits before the guests arrived. This type of coverage is exactly my thing. I think weddings should be enjoyed by everyone there and couples shouldn’t spend too much time away taking photos. It can be a challenge to capture good candids of everyone, especially when they’re eating and even more so when the lighting is tough, like the dappled light during cocktail hour. But I’m always up for a challenge.
You might notice if you check out the vendor list at the bottom of this post, there are three different rental companies and an awesome florist all involved in the decor for this event. This is why you hire a planner, to keep all these things organized. Marika from Rock Paper Square also has a gift for stunning design, along with being on top of things and smiling the whole time. The other vendors really made the day great too from beautiful cocktail hour music by Geoff Lundstrom to the delicious catering by House of Boateng.
To top off a fun day, after a delicious dinner and some sweet toasts, they had Autumn from Cold Comfort come with her little ice cream truck and hand out ice cream sandwiches. There was a huge line instantly. How great to invoke the joy of the ice cream truck appearing on your street as a child. Afterwards, people who weren’t too full to continue on headed to an after-party downtown on shuttle buses. David, Tamar, and Marika really thought of everything to make this an amazing day for all involved.